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Hampton boys lacrosse aiming for championship despite changes

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal
Hampton's Andy DeMichiei is one of the most feared attackers in the WPIAL.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal
Hampton's Max Happel (29) and Rick Macione (36) make a stand against Shady Side Academy in a home game.

It was a bit of a sentimental situation that led new Hampton boys lacrosse coach Randy Burns to accept the position. Burns, who was an assistant on previous coach Greg Edelman's staff, served as the junior varsity coach for two of his three years under Edelman. The first group he coached, this year's seniors, were freshmen his first season.

“Those kids were my first class,” Burns said. “They were the core of two championship teams.”

Burns and staff (Sam Happel and Dan Perestock) felt they owed it to the seniors to lead the team, especially with the jump from Division II to Division I.

“I love coaching and felt we could make a run at it,” Burns said.

Burns grew up in the North Allegheny school district and played under John Rullan. He played club lacrosse at Penn State and in men's leagues after college.

His goal is to keep up the high standard of Hampton lacrosse with a talented core of players in the biggest division in the area.

It all starts with senior attacker Andy DeMichiei, the offensive captain, and Max Happel, the defensive captain. Another senior, Nick Dudenas, is an offensive middle player who can score a lot of goals. Burns said Dudenas has a great shot, brings a quiet calm to practice and always comes ready to work.

Joe Holleran is another middle player who brings a lot of talent to the fold.

“This team has a good work ethic, plays well together and has a high lacrosse IQ across the whole team,” Burns said. “The team is high energy and is easy to coach.

“They play better when I let them just play, and it has been good so far.”

Burns said the transition to Division I is a challenge, and even though the Talbots have scheduled games against Division I talent, the focus was always on the division games.

Burns said the speed of the game is different.

“We played Shady Side Academy last week, and while they played a complete game, we were more sporadic,” Burns said. “We have to be more consistent.”

A new coach and jump in division may cause some teams to take a wait-and-see approach, but at Hampton, the goals remain the same.

“Our goal is to win a championship,” Burns said. “I am very improvement-oriented, and I want everyone to come to work and try to leave each day better than we entered it.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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